In this special Sweet Talk, we sit down with Adrian Ling, the ‘Vegan Willy Wonka’ and CEO of Plamil Foods.
1/ If you didn’t work in Confectionery where would you be?
After 40 years in the vegan & chocolate industry, I think I may be somewhat stuck with chocolate. We have a family history of being at the forefront of ethical and environmental business, my father was involved in growing sunflowers for fuel way back in the 1950’s, so I’m sure I’d be involved in some other form of progressive ethical or environmental work
Getting into a conversation with the person sitting next to you on a plane is not always desired, so when that happens rather than declaring ‘I’m in the chocolate business’ I say, ‘I’m a scaffolder’. For some reason it tends to end the conversation, though it does seem to surprise the answer to most.
2/ What is one thing you would remove from the office?
Photocopier/scanner. 3 buttons 1000 functions. I am not great with tech!
3/ What Is your favourite film
For many years it was Apollo 13, as the ethos of working through a problem is always an attractive proposition to finding a solution to a challenge, however lately I gravitate to declaring Docufilm Apollo 11. This captures the essence of an adventure, now so long ago, to which we are just looking to re kindle.
As a species I think we must inevitably create other inhabitable worlds, to enable us to save our wonderful ‘earth planet’ before we destroy and desecrate it
4/ What is one confectionery snack you cannot live without?
I do not have a sweet tooth, but if I’m away from the office for more than a couple of weeks…an office in which chocolate of all descriptions is on everyone’s desk in a multitude of varieties all the time… I miss it. Thankfully, most of the chocolate we make is not too sweet.
5/ What is one thing you cannot live without?
Air in my lungs. I suffered as a child with Asthma, so I have some experience what it is like to struggle for a breath of air. This thought does match my thoughts about life, and that we all too often fail to appreciate and enjoy the simple, very basic things in the pursuit of ‘everything else.’ As a society we really do need to value success and happiness differently.
6/ Who is your greatest inspiration
Three Scandinavian friends that each created their own large companies in the health/wholefood/organic business, Lennart Olsson, Thomas von Werden and Henrik Nyburg. An inspirational group of friends that over many years enabled me to see life and love values in perspective, without worrying what other think about me, being confident, following my gut feeling and enabled the thought that when I get to the end “I’ve had a great time, did my best, tried not to hurt anyone, and not think – I should have spent more days in the office.”
Read more of this article here: February 2022 Single Issue form – International Confectionery Magazine (in-confectionery.com)